Some kids just love a great scare, so I’m always on the lookout for books about haunted houses, ghosts and creepy characters who lurk. Mary Downing Hahn and Dan Poblocki have become the staples in this genre, but with the popularity of series, Grabenstein and Carman are definitely worth reading. These books are my favorites.
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman (series)
There’s a mystery in Skeleton Creek surrounding a freak accident at a mining operation that’s long been abandoned. Ryan and Sarah are determined to get to the bottom of it. When Ryan is injured during one of their jaunts to dig up clues, his parents forbid the friends from seeing each other. While Ryan recovers, Sarah explores on her own, taking videos and sending them to Ryan via the internet. Spooky.
Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac (series)
Molly’s family has suddenly gone missing. When a man claiming to be her uncle shows up, Molly reluctantly moves in with him. Immediately he creeps her out. He watches her. He looks emaciated. He locks her in her room at night. She didn’t possibly think the legend of the Skeleton Man could be true. Is she paranoid or is the Skeleton Man after her? Short and scary.
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (series)
Serafina lives in the basement of the Biltmore Estate with her father, the mansion’s electrician. One night she witnesses a girl being kidnapped by a mysterious man in a black cloak. The man surrounds her with his cloak and she vanishes. One by one kids are vanishing and Serafina might be next unless she figures out who the terrifying man is and what he wants.
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein (series)
Zack’s family has just moved back to his father’s hometown and right away things are weird. There’s something sinister about the tree in their backyard that is close to the intersection where a truck and bus collided in a tragic accident many years ago. Ghosts seem to haunt this intersection, unable to rest, and one of them is not nice. Who is the mean women who puts flowers at the tree and what is the connection to Zack’s family?
The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie
Tessa is not happy about her new move to Chicago. Worse, she’s creeped out by all the weird things happening in the new house. Doors slamming. Mysterious drawings. But when her brother’s doll cries real tears, she knows she has to figure out who’s trying to communicate with her and what happened in that house.
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh (series)
Harper’s family has just moved into a new house and things start to get weird fast. Her brother’s imaginary friend doesn’t seem very friendly and she fears he might be possessed by a spirit. When she begins researching the history of the house, she learns that it has a unsettling past. It’s the kids version of The Amityville Horror.
The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki
When Neil and his sister visit their aunts for the summer, the first thing Neil wants to do is explore the infamous abandoned mental hospital to see if Nurse Janet haunts it as people say. Along with their new friend Wesley, they break in and get totally spooked. They decide to do some research to learn more about Graylock Hospital, but Neil gets the sense that a ghost of Graylock has latched on to him.
Took by Mary Downing Hahn
Mary Downing Hahn found her niche in ghost stories. She has written quite a few and this is her most recent. When Daniel’s family moves to a new town in West Virginia, he begins hearing strange stories about a ghost witch called Old Auntie who steals a child every 50 years. At first he doesn’t believe but when his sister goes missing he thinks maybe she is the latest victim.
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Molly can’t believe her luck when she and her younger brother Kip are hired to take care of Windsor Mansion. It’s a bit run down and the family are peculiar, but she needs a job. Oddest of all is the strange man who enters the house every night, leaving muddy footprints behind. This certainly has something to do with the tree around which the house is built. Then there’s the nightmares. What’s happening in this house?